Very well put. We sometimes wonder why HBO shows are better than most YouTube videos. Artists behind HBO shows get paid, while most creators of YouTube videos don't. Could that correlation be a coincidence?
SOPA may not be a good diplomatic move because people tend to generalize. It's easy to equate "regulation" to "censorship." It's harder to think about the specifics of Cinese censorship and the specifics of SOPA.
The negative effects of SOPA are blown out of proportion.
I disagree with your second analysis. Of course, this is in no way a personal attack.
Under Warner and Lil' Wayne facts, the following can happen under SOPA:
(1) lose your ability to derive money from ads you accepted on the infringing PORTION of your website (of course your whole website will be devoid of advertising if all your pages are infringing),
(2) if you paid to appear as a sponsored ad, then the the infringing portion of your website won't appear in a search (so the internet advertising service like Google AdWords can't show a link to your infringing portion when others search for your site)
(3) you won't be able to receive payment through your site if you are selling something.
Moreover, Warner can do that ONLY IF your site is dedicated to theft of U.S. property. That means that if you happen to have an infringing song, but the rest of your site is dedicated to things other than ripping off songs, then Warner can't do anything to you.
Warner would have to send a notification to (say) Google and tell them Warner thinks you are infringing. Then Google sends you a message saying Warner thinks you are infringing.
Google can't interfere with your website if you answer that message through email saying in good faith that your site is not dedicated to theft of U.S. property. If you answer (send "counter notification"), then Warner will have to go to court and spend a bunch of money trying to get an injunction. You can sit back and not spend a dime unless you want to fight the injunction.
If you decide not to answer Google, only then is Google obligated and allowed to interfere with your site.
So (1) you will probably be able to keep your website and display all other songs even if you have one allegedly infringing song, (2) Warner has to make an investment to come after you, which means they may decide your infringing activity isn't worth paying their lawyers to take you to court (and they won't come after you if you're broke), and (3) your loss could only turn out to be taking down the song.
I think Tim Cushing's article is very thoughtful and tries to get away from arguments that rely solely on superficial labeling.
However, the request for a metric of success presents the following problem: no matter what empirical data will come out, (1) the metric will be contested (i.e., whether it's a true measure of "success"), and (2) conclusions based on the data will also be contested (whether the data supports a conclusion of "success").
Why would that happen? Let's say the data shows that following adoption of SOPA into law results in (1) higher pay for content creators, (2) less profits for search engines, and (3) less websites for Regular Joe to access THE SAME content.
Content creators would consider SOPA a success, search engines would consider SOPA a failure, and Regular Joe wouldn't care because he can access the original content anyway (or maybe he would care because he erroneously thinks his free speech is somehow abridged, etc.).
Would SOPA be a success for society in general? I'm not really sure that question even makes sense because there are many conflicting interests within the U.S. society.
So how can a metric be judged as a success or failure? Well, if the purpose of SOPA is to make content creators more income, then I guess we can get data from the Census Bureau after passing the bill. If content creators wind up making more money, then SOPA is successful.
The problem here is that the content creators' raise in income may decrease the income of search engines. So, search engines will consider SOPA a failure (not in relationship to SOPA's stated purpose, but in relation to their own business interest).
The problem with stating SOPA's purpose as "making more money for content creators" is that it won't gain political traction.
So, a metric can state success or failure only in relationship to a clear and measurable goal. However, politicians will not state such a clear and measurable goal because their bill will never be adopted.
That means that it is perhaps a bit unrealistic to ask for a measure of success or failure.